With recent "Rebirth" developments in Action Comics, one pair of Lois and Clark have pretty much replaced another. In fact, post-Crisis Lois Lane has literally taken over the career and friendships of her deceased, "New 52" counterpart.
Now that writer Dan Jurgens has established Lois back at The Daily Planet and Superman has returned to publicly fighting crime, the book is starting a brand new storyline with this week's Action Comics #967.
Lex Luthor and Superman front and center in the storyline "Men of Steel," following up on some of the events from "Darkseid War" and taking the book off Earth.
And according to Jurgens, who relaunched the book in June as part of DC's "Rebirth" event, the storylines featuring Mr. Oz aren't finished yet, as Action Comics and other DC books head toward a showdown with the mysterious character and his presumed ties with the Watchmen characters who have been messing with DC continuity.
Newsarama talked with Jurgens to find out more about Lois replacing her doppelganger, why Lex Luthor thinks he should be Superman, and what's coming next in Action Comics.
Newsarama: Dan, the Lois and Clark starring in your book are pretty much taking over the lives of the "New 52" versions of Lois and Clark. I feel like you're saying that a world always needs a Superman and Lois Lane. Is that part of it?
Dan Jurgens: There’s a lot of truth to that, Vaneta.
I’ve always felt that Lois and Superman serve to define each other. Separate the two and it feels like there’s something missing.
So, yes, the world needs a Superman and Lois Lane. And the world seems to respond better when they’re together.
Nrama: Still, it feels like there's more to this development.
Are we done getting answers about why there used to be two Supermen and Loises, but now there aren't?
Jurgens: There’s more to this development, of course, but for now it’s really important to focus most on the Clark and Lois we have. This book is about them and where their lives are heading, along with Jon, of course.
Nrama: Is this version of Lois Lane staying in this position long-term?
Jurgens: Given all the things she said to Clark and the way she described The Daily Planet as something she needs in her life, it’s fair to see she’ll be at the Planet for the foreseeable future.
Nrama: This Superman's got some competition in fulfilling the role "New 52" Superman left empty, and you'll be concentrating on that a bit in this week's issue. What's going on in Lex's mind that makes him think he's the man for the job?
Jurgens: Lex is among the most complicated characters in the DCU. What motivates him is a bit of a mixed bag.
For one, he feels the title of “Superman” should be filled by a normal man. A human, to be specific.
On top of that, I think he responds to being recognized that way by Metropolis. I don’t think he needs the adulation but I do think he enjoys the recognition. Not just of citizens in Metropolis, but of other heroes.
For him, it’s verification of his genius. He sees himself as being worthy of the title.
Nrama: How does this week's Action Comics #967 explore the animosity between the two characters?
Jurgens: It’s an interesting dynamic because the differences between them are very different.
Lex sees Superman as a stranger… as something he can’t entirely explain. Lex is unsure about where Superman came from and what his background is. He has questions.
At the same time, the only Lex that Superman has known is a criminal. It’s hard for Superman to believe that this version is any different than the one he’s ever known, that he isn’t simply lying about what his true intent is. So there’s a fair amount of animosity there and that’s what makes the story interesting.
Nrama: You mentioned that Superman only knew Lex as a criminal. As you start this next story arc, does Superman suspect at all that this version of Lex might be telling the truth, that he's a hero?
Jurgens: No. At that point, it’s rather inconceivable for Superman to believe that Lex is any kind of hero. That’s been his struggle since day one.
Nrama: It looks like the comic book is going off-planet. How would you describe the style and approach you're taking to Action Comics in this arc?
Jurgens: We’ve had a couple of issues that focused more on the mystery of the other Clark Kent and then Lois. So, at this point, it’s time to amp up the “action” part of the title.
And with Superman and Lex at the center of it, we have a lot we can do.
Nrama: What can you tell us about Godslayer? Who is he? What's he like?
Jurgens: We want the story to unfold in natural fashion here, but it’s safe to say that Godslayer has a very particular view of where this Lex Luthor is headed and intends to stop it from happening. It centers around some of what happened to Lex on Apokolips and that really gets us off and running.
Nrama: What kind of challenges face Lex and Superman during the Godslayer arc?
Jurgens: The biggest challenge for Lex and Superman will be their own relationship. That’s what will make dealing with the other aspect of what’s happening in the story so tough.
It’s really a question of whether or not they can get over their mutual sense of distrust to eventually work together.
Nrama: Will we see more of Mr. Oz soon? Anything you can tell us about where to look for more of that thread you introduced?
Jurgens: Mr. Oz?
He’s out there.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Action Comics?
Jurgens: First, that I really appreciate their support. We’ve gotten a great response to the book and that’s fantastic.
Patrick Zircher, Tyler Kirkham, Steven Segovia and Art Thibert, along with a great editorial crew have been working incredibly hard to make Action Comics the best it can be. It’s Superman, after all, and I think we have some pretty special surprises lined up!